A NEW START FOR ELI

A NEW START FOR ELI

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Eli Manning was powerless when it came to preventing
Ben McAdoo and the Giants hierarchy from wresting from
him the franchise-quarterback mantle he has worn so
professionally for 14 seasons. But Manning
now has the upper hand with what
comes next, as far as the Giants trading
him away.
Manning has a full no-trade clause in
his contract, meaning the Giants cannot
ship him anywhere he does not want to
go. There is a chance he returns as the
starter in 2018, but, given the way this
dreary season has gone and the way
the Giants on Tuesday shabbily handled
the end of Manning’s starting streak
of 210 consecutive games, it does not
seem tenable that this rift is mendable.
The Giants likely will have a top-three
pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and they undoubtedly
will use it on a quarterback,
unless rookie Davis Webb shows them
something down the stretch to warrant
consideration as Manning’s successor.
Whatever happens, the decision will not
take long. The Giants must pay Manning
a $5 million bonus if he is on the roster on the third day
(March 17) of the NFL league year, so if he is not in the
plans, he will be gone before then.
Manning signed a four-year, $84 million contract extension
before the 2015 season and the $67 million in guaranteed
money already has been paid to him. He is on the books
for base salaries of $10.5 million in 2018
and $11.5 million in 2019. It looks as if
he will not be with the Giants to earn
that money.
There is no way the Giants simply will
release Manning, but if they did, they
would save about $10 million on their
2018 salary cap and have a dead cap
expenditure of $12.4 million. There will
be teams willing to trade for his services.
Manning is not ready to retire,
even though he turns 37 on Jan. 3. His
body remains healthy and his arm is
sound. The Jaguars (with Tom Coughlin
running the show and Blake Bortles at
quarterback) make too much sense as
an option. The Broncos and Cardinals
also are solid teams in need of a quality
quarterback. If Manning goes to Denver,
he would follow in the footsteps of
older brother Peyton, who once thought he would never
leave the Colts, just as Eli once thought he would be with
the Giants forever.

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